The Stanley Cup playoffs can be unpredictable, just ask Louis Domingue who was serving as Casey DeSmith’s backup in Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.
From a controversial hit on Rickard Rakell to what would have the go-ahead goal for New York getting overturned in the third period to Domingue needing to relieve DeSmith between the pipes in the second overtime before the Penguins ultimately won 4-3 in triple OT.
And that’s just the SparkNotes version.
DeSmith’s injury was just another blow to Pittsburgh who already was without No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry as he deals with an injury of his own. Domingue, who has 142 games of NHL experience, was thrown into the fire with Game 1 on the line.
At first, he didn’t believe the officials when they came to tell him he had to come into the game.
“I saw (DeSmith) go to the bench and I wasn’t sure why they blew the whistle,” Domingue told reporters after the game, per the Penguins. “I know both of the referees that were there, Jonny Murray and Frederick L’Ecuyer, both French guys. I honestly thought they were joking with me. They were saying I had to go in. After that, I just went out and played. It’s crazy, but I guess that’s my life. It’s hockey.”
Domingue made 17 saves and played the unlikely hero for Pittsburgh. And even though he admitted he wasn’t engaged with the game the entire time he was on the bench, he did credit his energy to the meal he had during the intermission ahead of the second overtime.
“I actually had quite the meal between the first and the second overtime,” he told reporters, per Sportsnet. ” … Some spicy pork and broccoli. Maybe it sustained my energy, it was cool to be a part of that.”
The Penguins now have a 1-0 series lead with Game 2 set for Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.